The Kurdish Peshmerga have deployed additional reinforcements into the already troop-heavy disputed area between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the rest of Iraq, as Iraqi Army forces also continue to move into the area.
The reinforcement move comes after Friday negotiations bore virtually no hint of progress from either side. KRG officials say the move is necessary to defend ethnic Kurds in the areas outside of the initially defined KRG territory.
Both sides insist that they are responding to aggression from the other side, with the Peshmerga command seems eager to make a statement of Kurdistan’s autonomy from the rest of Iraq at a time when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki continues to centralize power.
Shortly before the latest standoff, Maliki ordered the Peshmerga placed under his direct command. Since Maliki has appointed himself as the Defense Minister, Interior Minister and military chief, he already has direct control of all central government forces, and the Peshmerga, which operates under KRG control, is the largest faction not under his control.